|Batter for crunchy cinnamon bread.|
I'm really good at making pies, in part because I make such a delicious crust. But that's not all I can bake. In recent days I've made two coffee cakes, a peanut butter chocolate cake, and a loaf of crunchy cinnamon bread, because I have buttermilk and need to find ways to use it. (The day after I drafted this post, I made a buttermilk pie.)
I'm finding that baking is oddly relaxing. I like the end product, of course, but I also like making the food. I like rolling out the pie crust. I like blending things in the Kitchen Aid.
I've been trying to figure out this phenomenon: why do I like baking so much? Why am I doing so much of it? Why does it give me a thrill and help me to focus in a non-stressful way?
I don't know the answer, but I feel like it's related somehow to single parenting.**
Here's an obvious point: single parenting is hard. Hard. It's hard to be responsible for all the morning, after school, and bedtime rituals. All the nights she can't fall asleep or wakes up repeatedly. All the mornings that start at 5am. All the weekend plans. All the cleaning. All the doctors' appointments, therapy appointments, after-school activities. All the desperate scheduling if she gets sick and has to miss school, or if my job requires a late meeting. (Thank god for great babysitters!)
|Cherry pie. Trey and Olivia's favorite.|
But it's still hard. If I need to get groceries, I have to schedule that--to find someone who can do it when I can. Having to take that extra step or set of steps is a small but tiring thing. It would be much easier if, on Saturday afternoon, I saw that I was out of milk and just hopped in the car with Maybelle to run to the grocery store. Or if, on Thursday after dance class, I needed to get some fig bars for her, she and I would make a quick trip to Trader Joe's. Or if I was walking out the door and realized that it had just started raining, I could move us to the car and get to school that way. Or if I had a doctor's appointment on the other side of town, I could bike home from school and then drive myself there.
You see what I mean? I didn't drive much back in the day when I was driving, but the times that I drove, it was really helpful. Getting the rides I need right now requires thinking ahead. Planning. It's not easy to do on the spur of the moment (like on rainy days). It requires me to gear myself up to be social--the grocery store not as quick trip but as quick trip with a wonderful person, and catching up with that wonderful person. But you know how sometimes you've had a long day and you just want to be silent?
|Crunchy cinnamon bread. I've already eaten two|
pieces because it's delicious.
Baking: a way to compensate for the challenges of the single-parent-not-driving life.
*After I started on this trend, I watched the movie Waitress. Some significant similarities. And a good film.
**Please notice, college students, that it was the process of writing that helped me figure out what's going on. Professors aren't lying when we tell you how important writing is.